Adding to Newton’s Affordable Housing Stock

New developments with 21 or more units of housing in Newton will now have to provide more units of permanently affordable “workforce” housing. The definition of “workforce” housing is that it is affordable to households earning greater than 80% and up to 110% of the area median income (AMI). In Newton, ahousehold of four at 80% of the AMI could earn up to $89,000, and at 110%, could earn up to $124,630. The amended Inclusionary Zoning ordinance was drafted by the Newton Planning and Development Department, edited in many meetings by the City Council and passed unanimously by the City Council on Monday night. The amendment still requires that new developments of 7 units or more provide 15% of its units at prices/rents that are affordable to households earning 50% to 80% of the AMI. The new amendment requires an additional 2.5% of the units to be set aside at affordable prices/rents for “workforce” households that earn from 80% to 110% of the AMI.

Beginning in January 2021, all projects with 100 units or more will be required to provide 15% affordable units, and an additional 5% for “workforce” housing, or a total of 20% affordable units altogether. Newton’s housing is pricey and increasingly unaffordable for many households of all types and income levels. The amendment helps provide more options for people of all means to live in our City.

Mayor’s Update July 11, 2019

10¢ Paper Bag Fee Approved

The City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance requiring Newton businesses to charge customers 10 cents for every paper bag the store provides at checkout. Larger stores, those over 3,500 square feet, will be required to implement the fee in six months. Smaller stores will have a year to prepare.  [Read more…]

Read LWVN’s letter in support of sidewalk snow clearing

LWVN recently commented to Newton City Council about the enhanced enforcement of the sidewalk snow clearing ordinance.

LWV Sidewalk Snow Fines

Recycling Update: No Cartons!

The state’s recycling acceptance list has changed. As a result, milk, juice, and soup cartons are no longer allowed in green recycling bins. Instead, you should put them in the blue trash bin.

Recycling sorting centers don’t want these cartons because:

  •     Cartons are difficult to recycle because they are multi-layered.
  •     Cartons can contaminate other recycling streams, such as paper and plastic.

Newton households have boosted the City’s “Recycling IQ” thanks to a public education campaign. Better sorting of recycling and trash has resulted in less recycling “contamination,” saving the City an average of $6,550 in fines. Let’s keep up the good work!

Some of the things that shouldn’t go in the recycling bins: plastic bags, black plastic food trays, food, Styrofoam, medicine bottles, wood, clothing, tissues, paper towels, and napkins.

Use Newton’s Recycle Right tool (get the free app on your smart phone) to search for the best way to manage specific items.

Newton Citizens Climate Action Plan (from Annual Meeting)

In May, the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy, led by Dr. Halina Brown, published the Newton Citizens Climate Action Plan, a realistic plan to reduce greenhouse gases in Newton to zero by 2050.  Dr. Brown presented an overview of the plan at the League’s Annual Meeting on May 30, 2019.  Many thanks to the all members of the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy, and we hope to have a fuller discussion of the plan in the fall.

Click here to see Dr. Brown’s presentation:  NCCE Presentation–Annual Meeting

Click on the link or the image below to see the entire Newton Citizens Climate Action Plan:


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